Remove Judge Who Accused Rape Victim of Not ‘Putting Up a Fight’

Target: California Commission on Judicial Performance

Goal: Demand the removal of Judge Derek Johnson from his position as a California Superior Court Judge following his comments blaming the victim of a rape case

In 2008, Southern California Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson made some appalling remarks regarding a rape case he was presiding over at the time. Johnson publicly admonished the rape victim, saying she failed to “put up a fight” during the assault.

The case involved a man who threatened his girlfriend with facial and genital mutilation with a hot screwdriver. The man also threatened to beat her with a metal baton and before raping her. In response to hearing testimony, Johnson commented, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case.”

These comments portray a deeply disturbing and unfounded view of rape and basic biology. After these remarks, Johnson shaved ten years off the attacker’s prison sentence, sending him to prison for a mere six years. Johnson noted that this was all the attack was “worth.”

The California Commission on Judicial Performance formally reprimanded Johnson’s comments, saying his response to the rape victim was inappropriate and “a breach of judicial ethics.” Furthermore, the commission found these comments to be Johnson’s own (misguided) opinion and not actual law. According to the Huffington Post, since 1980 California state law has not required rape victims to prove they resisted assault.

Since the California Commission on Judicial Performance has officially admonished Johnson’s remarks, the California voting constituency can ask for a recall. Johnson must be held responsible for his actions and remarks. Sign below to call for his removal from the California Superior Court.


Dear California Commission on Judicial Performance,

The public admonishment of Judge Derek Johnson’s remarks concerning a 2008 rape case is quite simply not going far enough. The lack of a suitable consequence in this case trivializes rape and Johnson’s outrageous remarks.

In 2008, Judge Johnson said the following to the rape victim:

“If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted…That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn’t necessarily willing, she didn’t put up a fight.”

Judge Johnson’s obvious lack of understanding of rape, female biology and even the California law in this case, make it essential for Johnson’s removal as judge. Please consider the magnitude of his remarks, and encourage Judge Johnson to step down immediately.


[Your Name Here]


Photo credit: Creatas Images

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44 Signatures

  • Ellen McCann
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